‘Use of low-quality materials threatens investment in the real estate sector’
Muscat - A number of building contractors and experts have warned against the use of defective and low-quality materials which do not conform to the standard specifications. Such materials are reason for cracks in buildings.
They have particularly mentioned that such materials were one of the major factors which are threatening investment in real estate. They have urged the competent authorities to intensify drive to monitor and control local cement manufacturing companies, as well as keep an eye on various building materials shops where the chances of forgery is more.
They also said that the customers were considered the target of such fraud in building materials. But they can bring the change by choosing only those materials which comply with the standard specifications.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has said that such warnings have come after the reports of cracks in the government and private buildings constructed only a few years back surfaced.
Eng Nasir bin Abdullah al Abadi, chief executive officer of Eamar Engineering Consultancy, said that there were many types of cement with different compositions and are of different use as required in the construction.
Eng Abadi said, “Regarding buildings, the most popular type is ordinary Portland cement. It is used in construction works on the surface of the earth, such as in reinforced and ordinary concrete work, and white plaster works.
“As for sulfate-resistant cement and salts, they are used in underground concrete work, such as in foundations and retaining walls, as well as structural buildings exposed to water and salts. Recently, a new product
has come in the market. It is a cement for plaster, which should only be used for that purpose.”
He added, “As an engineering consulting office, we are always keen to use Omani national products. We make it a condition for the contractors of projects we supervise to use local cement (Oman or Raysut), provided their specifications are approved by the concerned authorities. We make it sure that correct and appropriate type of cement is used at every stage of construction work.”
He said that the specifications in force in the Sultanate of Oman for construction work and the materials used therein are of Omani, Gulf, British and American specifications.
Eng Abadi said that to control the quality and organise this sec
tor, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry needed to find a mechanism in cooperation with other government agencies and professional institutions, such as Oman Society of Engineers, to monitor and examine imported cements to ensure their compliance with Omani specifications. It also needs a mechanism to monitor ready-made concrete plants of the sultanate to ensure their commitment of using cement according to Omani standard specifications.
Salah bin Abdullah al Khumbashi, a contractor for building houses, said control over the cement factories should be tightened and periodic tests inside the factory as well as at construction sites should be conducted.
He stressed that tests should be carried out for any cement shipment entering the sultanate to know the ratio of the materials involved in the cement industry.
Khumbashi said, “The damage caused by the low-quality cement shortens the life span of the project, as defects surface in the building soon after completion of the project.”
He said that the cracks which surface in the residential buildings negatively affect the real estate sector.
Mubarak bin Hamdan al Hadhrami, a construction contractor, said, “There are many shops selling low-quality building materials. This is one of the reasons of the cracks appearing in the buildings. It is a huge threat to the lives of the residents.”
He said that the low quality of construction materials was one of the reasons which affect the economy of the country adversely as people do not focus on real estate.
Hadhrami urged consultants and contractors to show sincerity in doing follow-up of construction work and not to tolerate violators. They should take appropriate measures to deter them, so that they do not repeat violations.
Recently, a new product has come in the market. It is a cement for plaster, which should only be used for that purpose
Eng Nasir bin Abdullah al Abadi
Salah bin Abdullah al Khumbashi
Eng Nasir bin Abdullah al Abadi